The Mariners entered their weekend series with Texas tied for the AL West lead, but straggled out of Globe Life Park in Arlington Sunday three games in arrears in the division race after the Rangers completed a sweep with a 3-2 victory (box). Hishashi Iwakuma delivered the rotation’s first quality start in a week, but the offense flailed against Texas starter Derek Holland and three relievers, collecting three hits.
Seattle starters had gone 2-5 with a 9.33 ERA (47 earned runs, 45.1 IP) in nine previous games heading into the series finale, but Iwakuma worked seven effective innings, allowing only one earned run with seven strikeouts and a walk. But Holland improved to 12-4 lifetime against Seattle by making only one mistake, a two-run homer to Nelson Cruz in the fourth inning.
The Mariners (31-25) scratched out two singles otherwise, by C Chris Iannetta in the third and 2B Robinson Cano on a squibber down the third-base line in the sixth, in their fourth sweep of the season.
Up 2-0 in the fifth on the Cruz homer, the Mariners’ SS Luis Sardinas made a throwing error with one out to ignite a three-run inning (one earned) for the Rangers. Of the four hits allowed by Iwakuma, three came in the decisive fifth, including a leadoff bunt by Rougned Odor.
Cruz’s homer in the fourth, his 13th of the year, traveled an estimated 474 feet. The blast also gave him 40 RBIs. The Mariners have 82 home runs, tops in the majors. They also lead with 29 long balls off lefties . . . Cano extended his hitting streak to five games, reaching base for the 34th consecutive contest, an MLB high . . . Iannetta extended his hitting streak to five games . . . 1B Dae-Ho Lee went 0-for-4, snapping his streak of consecutive multi-hit games at five.
Iwakuma lost for the fifth time in nine decisions, but deserved better after allowing only one earned run among his 89 pitches, 61 for strikes. Prior to Iwakuma’s seven-inning outing Sunday, Seattle starters had gone five or fewer innings in six of their previous nine games . . . Nick Vincent pitched one inning of scoreless relief after Iwakuma departed.
“I can’t say enough about the job Iwakuma did. That’s probably the best he’s been all year, especially against a hot team. He was very prepared and gave a real professional outing. We’re excited about that. Unfortunately, we kind of gave them the game. We didn’t make some plays in the fifth inning (the Sardinas error). In the big leagues you have to come physically and mentally prepared to play every day or else they will get you. This was a disappointing series and a disappointing road trip. This was our game to win, but we gave it away.” — Mariners manager Scott Servais
Mariners are 3-6 against Texas this season, 12-5-2 in overall series and 7-1-2 in road series . . . Mariners are 19-10 on the road . . . In addition to this sweep, Seattle was swept April 8-10 by Oakland, May 13-15 by the Los Angeles Angels, and May 27-29 by Minnesota . . . SS Ketel Marte completed his rehab assignment with the AAA Tacoma Rainiers Saturday and will rejoin the Mariners Monday night when they launch a four-game set with the Cleveland Indians. Marte has been sidelined since spraining his left thumb while sliding into second at Cincinnati May 21 . . . Felix Hernandez is eligible to come off the 15-day DL next Sunday, but Servais said it’s unlikely Hernandez will return to the rotation that quickly.
The four-game set with the Indians begins at 7:10 p.m. Monday. LHP James Paxton (0-1, 7.36) will throw for Seattle opposite RHP Trevor Bauer (3-2, 4.27). The San Diego Padres rocked Paxton for 10 hits and eight runs in his last start June 1.